5 Questions to Ask Before You Upgrade Your Accounting Software for “Free”
In today’s technology driven world, we see it often: “Click here to upgrade for free” or “Get our Free Upgrade”. It can be enticing and may even be an easy short term solution. But, is it the right long term solution? Things that seem too easy, in reality, usually aren’t. What’s the real story? I challenge you to ask yourself these 5 questions before you hit that button.
1. Who will manage the initial upgrade?
Often times, you click and then silence. You’re stuck trying to manage and implement the new software on your own with little support. An upgrade can require a lot of work as well as significant system and software knowledge. With limited staff resources and time it can be difficult to manage. You become responsible for ensuring all systems are working correctly, integrations are running smoothly, data is accurate, and so much more. Collaboration with a dedicated Implementation team and Project Manager is key to a successful upgrade. With one person who is fully in-tune with your specific project from start to finish, you’re set up for a smooth process. A full service experience may be more involved, but is worth it in the long run to ensure your software upgrade and implementation are successful for your club.
2. Is your system set up to handle the upgrade?
Understanding the impact one system upgrade can have on your other systems is critical to ensuring you don’t end up with a system that is slow or even unusable. Systems are like a giant Jenga game and one slight adjustment can bring everything down. You need someone who can audit your system architecture and plan for changes that have less risk for system interruption. Also, knowing the server requirements for the upgrade is key. If your server isn’t able to handle the new upgrade you could be looking at having to purchase a new one, and they can run around $5,000. Do your research on system requirements before you click! Again, this is where a full service experience with a dedicated team can guide you so you aren’t left with unplanned system and server issues.
3. How will data conversions and migrations be managed?
With an upgrade, you often need to manage data conversions and migrations. Without the proper support you can end up losing or improperly translating valuable information that is imperative to running and managing your club. It’s risky to lack clarity and perform this on your own, so be sure to ask how this process will take place, what level of professional will assist you (if any), and what the costs are to ensure this process is accurate and complete. Weigh these costs along with the cost of your personal time with the longer-term costs of having improper, incomplete, or inadequate data down the road.
4. What kind of support will you have after implementation?
Free is always good, right? Not always, especially when you’re left to figure out the aftermath of the upgrade on your own. Find a solution that comes with a dedicated support team so the support does not conclude when the implementation is complete. A dedicated Project Manager, Implementation Specialist and Customer Success Manager can help you and your team navigate any issues that may arise during and after the new software upgrade and implementation. Having extensive training resources with instructional detail available 24/7, along with professionals in the club and accounting industry to assist you, is key to the success of your club.
5. Are there hidden costs?
Remember that potential $5K server cost we mentioned? That’s not the only cost that could be lurking behind a free upgrade. Some upgrades only provide you with a framework, but you’re left to figure the rest out on your own. That can lead to the need to hire a developer or IT specialist to help you make your system work with the new software. That’s not cheap. Is training for you and your staff included with the upgrade or do you have to pay for it? Make sure you know what kind of support you will have versus what you will have to pay for.
A free upgrade seems like the way to go, until you break it down. Figure out what you’re dealing with before you click. A full service experience may cost a little more upfront, but will be worth it in the long run. Don’t end up with a system you aren’t sure how to use, no support, and unexpected surprise expenses due to the free upgrade. Get all of the facts so that you can invest in the solution that’s right for your club both now, and for years to come.
If you’re considering an upgrade, schedule a technology assessment with a Clubessential team member to discover what’s involved and how you’ll be supported through the process.
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